Amid a firestorm of criticism, including some from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Boston Bruins ownership finally announced plans to support their part-time employees at TD Garden as NHL regular-season games are postponed or canceled.
More than a week following the announcement that the NHL season was going to be paused due to the coronavirus outbreak, and days after all 30 other NHL teams had made public their plans to financially back their employees, the Jacobs family announced Saturday morning they are establishing a $1.5 million fund for their part-time gameday associates.
The Bruins have postponed two home games since the season was suspended and had only six remaining regular-season games scheduled at TD Garden, but that could still mean hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for part-time Garden employees relying on that income. The Jacobs family never gave a reason for the length of time it took for this announcement to become public, and instead thanked their employees “for their patience and understanding” as they formulated a plan. They released the following statement:
“The Jacobs Family has established a $1.5 million fund for the Boston Bruins and TD Garden part-time gameday associates who will be financially burdened if the six remaining regular season Bruins games are not played. We thank our associates for their patience and understanding while we worked through the complexity of this unprecedented situation.”
Certainly, the announcement brings peace of mind for Garden employees, and there is a GoFundMe page that through Saturday morning had more than $37,000 in donations pledged to help assist them in the meantime.
Just a couple of days ago, Healey took to Twitter to criticize Bruins ownership for their lack of action, writing:
“This is really troubling. Delaware North owns the Bruins, and its the only organization in the NHL that hasn’t announced financial support to game day employees. These wages will make a huge difference to hourly workers at the Garden. I hope the Jacobs family will act soon.”
Healey tweeted Saturday she was glad to see action taken.
While it’s good news that Bruins ownership has stepped up and done something to address the fears and concerns of their employees, the long delay in making the announcement is going to feed the notion they did it only after being prodded publicly.
This humble hockey writer doesn’t believe that to be the case and every indication NBCSportsBoston.com had received from Bruins sources the past week was that an announcement such as this would be made after discussions through the proper corporate channels. The Garden and the Bruins are part of the portfolio owned by the Jacobs' company, Buffalo-based Delaware North. Chairman Jeremy Jacobs, 80, has an estimated net worth of $3.6 billion.
It does seem as if the company could have bought themselves some good PR amid a very difficult time if they’d done this a week ago like just about everybody else around the NHL.